Yesterday morning, I was surprised when I opened the blinds. Moving frequently does mean it is easy to forget what you are moored beside anyway, but in this case I was expecting to see the boat with the panels depicting motorbikes, an unusual choice for narrow boaters, since many emphasise the slow pace of canal cruising and are frequently named to reflect this: Tranquillity, Serenity, Andante, Why Hurry, Legato, Largo, Drifter, Lazy Days. I have yet to see one named Scrambler, Race Pace, Need for Speed or Lightening. I hadn’t seen a name on this boat at all in fact. I assumed it must have left. Then I remembered we had moved along one boat length the day before so we were no longer opposite the same space. You have to seize your opportunity as finding a good space to moor can be difficult. The motorbike boat was still in the same space, so tight against the one in front that they were overlapping!
We were heading back to Marple in short bursts. We went for water before we left the marina. A man saw us leaving and checked if we were heading for water, and when we said we were, he said, “I’ll just wait then.” No intention of racing us to it, nor hanging around unmoored, in the wind, waiting for the water tap to be available.
We did not go too far, but as so often happens, We met only 2 boats, but both times it was at a slightly awkward tight spot. Firstly, when Shane was driving, approaching a bridge arch, where only one boat can go through at a time. Shane pulled over quickly and let the other boat through. I said to him, as he passed, that it was typical that you only meet one boat, but it was usually at the narrowest spot. But he said this was easier than the bit we had just gone through with moored boats. Shane got off to operate a swing bridge and as I went through I saw there were quite a lot of walkers waiting to cross. After it there was a long line of moored boats on long term winter moorings and I was looking out for Mollie, the boat of my sister’s friends, that we had met in the summer. I had seen Mollie other day and let them know, with pictorial evidence that she was safe.
As I was driving past the long line of moored boats, the second moving boat appeared, this time he could see it was easier for me to keep going so we would meet where it was slightly wider. I was sufficiently preoccupied with steering between his boat and the moored boats that I didn’t notice Mollie but when I glanced back at the end of the line I saw her sitting there. I was glad to have seen her again.
There were few new sights but we came past a boat that I had noticed a couple of times before, moored beside the winding hole where we had seen the heron catch the fish, the other day. It was decorated with lots of ivy. This time as we went past the owner, stuck his head out the window and gave a cheery wave.
Just after I had driven past I saw something had just dipped into the water ahead. It reappeared as we were passing by – a cormorant and with a big fish in its beak. Obviously this winding hole was an excellent fishing spot!
With a combination of wet weather and short days we are not going far each day, so have been able to catch up with woodwork and knitting.
Despite the slow pace, it hasn’t been all about watching paint dry. We had a lovely video chat with the Morrison family (hadn’t expected the whole family, but did indeed see everyone) in the evening, and am delighted that Cath is still a keen blog follower! We survived patchy reception and they are still hoping to meet us in the future on board, though we are all hazy on times and places, some suggestions were discussed… somewhere in England in 2022!
Mooring last night was okay but it was not an ideal bit of bank and I had difficulty getting off the boat, as a large dog was on the bank, just where I needed to jump. We also had a dodgy start to today with being aground and finding it hard to get away from the bank, with a curve in the canal ahead and a boat behind affecting our steering desire lines. Eventually Shane’s experienced hand got us afloat and moving forward and from then on it was plain sailing. No need to stand on the lift bridge to release the key this time. We both enjoyed when a family passed as Shane was operating a lift bridge for me, the man called to the little girl “oh no it’s not high enough!” – it is lower on the driving side, and it does look low and close, Though we both knew we fit, we played along with the fun covering our heads in mock fear, as I approached the bridge, as though expecting a crash.
We got to Marple just as the rain started and got back in to a space we have been before, between the same two boats. We remembered it being hard to get our “nappy pin” out before, as there is an overhang of the stone, but by moving forward, close to the boat in front, we found a better place with a gap in the overhang and we are snug against the bank.